India are favourites to lift the Junior Hockey World Cup: England coach

PTI| Updated: Nov 29, 2013, 23:26 PM IST

New Delhi: England`s head coach Jon Bleby on Friday said hosts India are one of the favourites to lift the Junior Hockey World Cup starting from December 6 here.

"India are one of the favourites to win the world cup. We have got a huge amount of respect for them. It would be a great challenge for our team to beat them. If you manage to beat strong teams like Germany, Holland and India, you have a great chance in the tournament," said Bleby.

England will play India in a practice match at the National stadium here tomorrow and Bleby said it would be an "interesting and close" game.

"India are obviously a great team. We played against them in Sultan of Johor Cup in our first game. We lost that game 1-3. India went on to win that tournament of course. India are a very good side. We are looking ahead to the game tomorrow. It will be an interesting and close game," he said.

Bleby said they are working on improving their penalty-shot conversion rate.

"We are working on improving our goal scoring and penalty corners. The expectation is high from the tournament. We have set a few goals for ourselves. We look to play to our potential. If we manage to reach the quarterfinals, that would be a great outcome for this group. We are looking to go as far as possible. We are kind of throwing everything out there."

The coach seemed to be in awe of the facilities provided by the Hockey India.

"We are really impressed with the facilities so far. We are bowled over by the stadium. It`s one of the best stadiums I have ever seen. It`s brilliant."